DISCLAIMER: This Operational Policy is provided as a convenience to our customers. Please note that it is not a legally binding document. For legal terms please refer to VIT’s Schedule of Rates published at www.portofvirginia.com/tools/rate-tariff-information/

OPERATIONAL POLICY – Weighing of export containers for use to ensure compliance with SOLAS Regulation vi/2.
As previously stated, The Port of Virginia will continue to accept containers without a VGM via the gate and rail after July 1, 2016, when the SOLAS container weight rule begins.

Per the SOLAS regulations, the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) must be submitted to the marine terminals before any container can load a vessel. The VGM can be sent before or after the container arrives on terminal and this will be the only weight used in order to stow the containers to a vessel. The Port of Virginia has implemented the World Shipping Council’s VERMAS EDI message format for receiving the VGM of the containers.

The ship line will be sent a 322 EDI message when the inbound gate transaction is completed, as well as when a container off the rail is checked into the yard. The 322 message is the same message format that has been sent historically when these functions are completed and as before it will contain the OSHA-compliant weights that the ship line may use at their discretion to comply with SOLAS VGM requirements.

Upon entry to the terminals via gate or rail, the containers without VGMs will not be segregated separately unless the need arises on an exception basis. This means that the trucking community will be directed to the same transfer zones as they are today.

Our breakbulk/out-of-gauge (OOG) operations will continue in the same manner as they do today at all Port of Virginia terminals. If a container is stuffed or trans-loaded, the ship line will be responsible for transmitting a VGM to the terminal before the container will be able to load the vessel. If the container is weighed on terminal, a 322 EDI message will be sent containing the OSHA-compliant weights that the line operators may use at their discretion to comply with SOLAS VGM requirements.

With our Vessel Operations, there will now be a vessel planning cut-off in place for the stowage of containers. Every container loading a vessel must have a VGM submitted before the vessel planning cutoff. If the vessel is delayed, then the vessel planning cutoff will be adjusted. When a container is loaded to a vessel, a 322 EDI message is sent as it has been sent historically except that the weight field will now contain the VGM not the gross weight.

Per SOLAS requirements, any material difference in weight between the weight recorded on terminal and the VGM submitted by the line operator must be reconciled prior to the container loading the vessel. The material difference needing to be addressed will be determined by the ship line. The reconciliation is the responsibility of the ship line to resolve and must be done prior to the vessel planning cutoff. Many reports currently used for vessel planning will include both the actual gross weight (weight taken from terminal-owned OSHA-compliant scales) and the VGM, which can be used for reconciliation purposes. Any weight reconciliation that the ship line chooses to do must be completed by cutoff, including the submission of an updated VGM if deemed necessary. If the ship line is not able to reconcile the weight difference or the ship line does not want the container to load the vessel, the ship line is responsible for putting a line hold on the container or the container will load the vessel with the submitted VGM.

Below is a summary of the aforementioned process:
1. CONTAINERS THAT ARRIVE AT THE PORT OF VIRGINIA’S FACLITIES WITH OR WITHOUT A VERIFIED GROSS WEIGHT (VGM) WILL BE ACCEPTED.

2. THESE CONTAINERS WILL CONTINUE TO BE WEIGHED BY THE TERMINAL-OWNED, OSHA-COMPLIANT SCALES LOCATED AT ALL PORT OF VIRGINIA MARINE TERMINALS (INLCUDING THE VIRGINIA INLAND PORT AND THE RICHMOND MARINE TERMINAL).

3. VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL TERMINALS (VIT), WHICH OPERATES ALL PORT OF VIRGNIA FACILITIES SHALL CALCULATE THE ESTIMATED GROSS WEIGHT OF THE CONTANER DURING THE INGATE SCALING PROCESS.

4. CONTAINERS WILL BE PLACED ON AN AUTOMATIC VESSEL HOLD ONCE ON TERMINAL IF THE SHIP LINE HAS NOT SUBMITTED THE VGM. THE HOLD WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY RELEASED ONCE THE VGM IS PROVIDED.

5. THE SHIP LINE SHALL SEND VIT THE VGM VIA ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE (EDI) USING THE VERMAS PLATFORM BY VESSEL CUTOFF. NO OTHER EDI MESSAGE FORMAT IS SUPPORTED FOR THE RECIEPT OF VGM DATA.

6. CONTAINERS WILL NOT LOAD TO THE VESSEL IF THE VGM IS NOT SUBMITTED PRIOR TO THE PLANNED VESSEL CUTOFF – TYPICALLY 24 HOURS.

7. CONTAINERS THAT DO NOT LOAD THE VESSEL DUE TO LACK OF VGM, THOSE SHIP LINES SHALL BE LIABLE TO VIT FOR ANY AND ALL APPLICABLE CHARGES.

8. ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WEIGHTS RECORDED ON TERMINAL AND THE VGM SUBMITTED BY THE SHIP LINE WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SHIP LINE TO RECONCILE. THE MATERIAL DIFFERENCE WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE SHIP LINE.

9. ALTERNATIVELY, THE SHIP LINE MAY ON BEHALF OF THE SHIPPER INSTRUCT VIT TO ENTER THE ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT(S) DETERMINED BY VIT AS DESCRIBED ABOVE INTO VIT’S TERMINAL OPERATING SYSTEM AS THE VGM. SUCH INSTRUCTION MUST BE ACCEPTABLE TO VIT IN FORM AND SUBSTANCE.

10. ALL SHIPPERS USING THE TERMINALS AUTHORIZE THE SHIP LINE USE OF THE ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT(S) DETERMINED BY VIT IN THE MANNER AS DESCRIBED ABOVE TO SATISFY THE SHIPPERS’ SOLAS OBLIGATIONS TO PROVIDE VGM.

11. ANY QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO VIT CUSTOMER SERVICE:
a. PHONE: 1-757-440-7160
b. EMAIL: POVCustomerService@vit.org

Further detail on this policy can be found in The Port of Virginia Schedule of Rates (SOR), Item 411, Weighing of Export Containers. The SOR can be located on The Port of Virginia website:
http://www.portofvirginia.com/tools/rate-tariff-information/

Join TMTA Flash

Be the first to know about events impacting our industry. Leave your email below to be added to the mailing list for all TMTA Flash communications.

TMTA TRAC: Truckers Reporting Adverse Conditions

  • You must be a current TMTA member to use this system.
  • You are reporting adverse trucking conditions which will have wide distribution throughout the transportation community.
  • Please make your entry precise & professional. No name calling, profanity, or incivility.
Skip if not applicable.